Over The Top Mommy

Lifestyle

Everyone Loves a Carousel!

My favorite kind of day is one where I can stop and enjoy the moment without being in a hurry.

Emi and I had one last “Mommy & Me day” before she went back to school. She usually has a vision in her head of how most occasions will play out so first off, she needed to get appropriately dressed up.

Our first stop, was the nail salon. With the start of 3rd grade being SUCH a big deal, she wanted to make sure to have just the right design on her nails (and toes).

I LOVE little nails and toes and wish I could get away with having something this adorable on mine!
Our next stop was lunch. Nordstrom Cafe is one of our favs, especially the tomato soup and kids grilled cheese! I can’t say that a cookie wasn’t also snuck onto our tray.
After lunch, we walked around the mall for a long while, getting back to school necessities. Although my little girl is growing up too quickly, I love that she still asks to ride the carousel!
Everyone loves a carousel!

1st Grade is Where It’s At!

Today was the 1st day of school for me as a teacher, the start of my 18th year! When I was first hired, I had JUST graduated with my BA in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in English-Spanish bilingual teacher. It was the year that California passed the 20:1 law and needed a MASS quantity of new teachers hired. For the first 8 years of my career, I taught bilingual first grade. This meant that all of the reading and writing and ‘rithmetic were all in Spanish. I actually really liked it and I LOVED all of my students so much. (I still do). Eventually, politics got kind of ugly about the whole “teaching in Spanish thing” and we became an all English school.
I still have the same type of students, I just have to push them even harder now. I sometimes think the general public only see my students as statistics….most of them are English Learners, all of them are impoverish, and perhaps many of them are in The U.S. illegally? I don’t know, it’s not my job to worry about that, because they are just kids and none of that is their fault or their doing. What I DO know is that my students are often doing TWICE the work of typical students who live in “regular areas”. Not only do they have to learn to read, write and do Math like all first graders are expected to do, but they also have to learn English too! Many of them succeed, some continue to struggle and, of course, some fail, most are doing it with very little or no parent support. I have hope for them though. This is why I keep going back to work there. I don’t live anywhere near where I teach. I pay $12.50 a day to take a toll road to get to work on time each morning and back in time to pick up my own daughter from school. Some days are harder than others, some years are too, but it can also be very rewarding. These students are so sweet and appreciative and make the job worth it!

Today I got a whole new group of kids. I can already tell it’s going to be great year.
Here’s some of what I see in my new students:
At first, they’re hesitant and unsure. It’s a whole new world in first grade!
I love that they are curious! They explore and question. They want to know it all!
Sometimes they’re observant. They sit back and take it all in!
 Teachers love when students are motivated, especially when they’re motivated to learn!
Today I met 29 tiny but determined new first graders! I can’t wait to watch them grow & learn!
Room 7 is ready for the 2013-2014 school year!

What Happens in the Teachers Lounge, Stays in the Teachers Lounge

Today was my first official day back to my school site for an inservice! After being off and home with my daughter for 10 1/2 weeks, I was kind of sad to be away from her. I do know that I’m more fortunate than most people though to even have that much time off at once. (even though teachers don’t get paid when they don’t work)

Of course, it was all temporarily better the moment I got a hold of this…..
Seriously though…everything is better with a donut….and some coffee!
My most favorite donut in the whole world is a sprinkled donut!
So tell me, what’s yours? *cue for YOU to leave a comment

I’m Going to Blended 2013!

I can barely contain my excitement about the fact that my first blogger conference is going to be Blended! When I first found out that the 2 SUPER WOMEN behind this conference are BOTH named, “Wendy”, (Wendy from Around My Family Table and Wendy from Choosing Love & Arizona Moms Network), I just KNEW this was meant to be! I’m thinking we’re going to need to start our own “Wendy Club“, right?  
Blended is a one-day conference which will be held on Saturday, September 28 at The Double Tree by Hilton in Tempe, AZ. It’s a great opportunity for bloggers to gain knowledge from some powerful guest speakers, meet some of the sponsors and have the chance to network with other bloggers, which I’m finding out, usually up turning into fun, new friendships! 
In addition to the hosts, there will be 3 guest speakers at Blended. Maureen Fitzgerald from Wisconsin Mommy, Kimberly Sneed from A Night Owl, and Christine Pittman from Cook the Story
I am anxious to hear all of them speak and meet them in person, after having followed them online.
You can look at the full conference agenda here.
The ticket includes all sessions, materials, snacks, lunch and what’s sure to be everyone’s fav part….SWAG!!! Everyone loves SWAG! If you live in, or near, Arizona, you should attend! I’m coming from California! You can register for Blended here!

So what are you waiting for? Get registered and come meet me in Arizona! I just KNOW it’s going to be fun! (mostly because I assume that fun follows me wherever I go!)
 
Make sure to connect with Blended on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
and sign up for the Blended Newsletter here.

Disclaimer: I’m a Blended Conference Ambassador. I was provided a discounted ticket for my promotion.
 

On the More Serious Side

I’ve recently come to learn that a friend of a friend’s daughter has been diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic (M3) Leukemia. Her name is “JoJo” and she’s the same age as my own daughter. When I look at her pictures now, I just see someone who looks like she’d be one of Emi’s friends, an adorable, regular little girl who probably likes doing crafts, having sleepovers & watching Disney shows like “Austin & Ally”. I also see someone who, at the age of 8, is about to take the hardest journey of her life, along with her entire family and all of her friends! Currently, she’s receiving treatment at CHOC in Orange, California.

Yesterday, Jojo pulled this lock of her own hair out (it didn’t seem to be that difficult) and made this mustache with it, jokingly. I know that she was kidding around and actually doing so in good spirits, but it still tugged on my heart strings to see it and read about it.  I do know that her hair isn’t the most important part here, her health is!

It’s hard for me to keep reading about her journey, but I also can’t stop. I can’t help but want to do something to help. Jojo has made “a wish” for her own Macbook, which is the least she should have to keep her occupied with all of the time she’s going to be spending in bed and getting treatments, etc.
Many friends and family are pulling together to raise money, in order to make Jojo’s wish come true, as well as raise money for CHOC hospital’s Oncology unit.
Cynthia Briggeman is a stylist for Stella & Dot who has so generously donated 100% of her commissions from this online trunk show towards Jojo’s wish. There are some adorable bracelets that look like this, within the latest collection, but check out the trunk show and see if YOU like anything!

 
 
I’m also linking her Facebook page, which is open to look at and/or join. 
Stay tuned for more updates on Team Jojo! <3

And Sometimes I’m a Swim Mommy!

I’m a cheer mom. I’m a tae kwon do mom. I’m a soccer mom. Sometimes I’m a swim mom…like today! Today was Emi’s last swim meet of this summer’s swim team season!
She placed 1st in 25 freestyle 2nd in 50 freestyle and 2nd in 25 backstroke
and this was out of 5 teams!

One of the things I admire most about Emi is that she’s not afraid to do things like this…athletic things
! I could NEVER swim the way she does, let alone compete in swim meets! Although she comes across as fearless, she does actually get nervous sometimes.  Personally, I think I’d be “over it” just when someone asked me to put on one of those swim caps!!! (I’m just being honest here)

Ultimately, I not only want her to do things I never did as a child, but also to SUCCEED at those things! So far, I’d say it’s going pretty well! 🙂

I’m in Love…with an App!

Let me just start this post by pointing out that I am no techy, but I sure do like to pretend that I am! 
The other morning, I saw numerous posted pics with the hashtags #HeyRhonna and #RhonnaDesigns_app. As I looked further into it, I realized that July 2nd was the date that this app went live in the App Store! 
 
 
Priced at only $1.99, I immediately bought it and began using it! I am now hooked and in love with what it does for your photos. I’ve just been sitting on my couch playing with all of the different features. 

The following pics are just some very basic examples of what you can do with this app. However, there is SO much more to it!

 

I’m seriously in love with an app! 
Check out her site at: http://www.rhonnadesigns.com/